Waived by the Phoenix Suns in training camp and unable to sign in Turkey after failing his physical, Zabian Dowdell has found a home with Gran Canaria. Is the right knee pain behind him?
Zabian Dowdell has finally found a team overseas after all, but the search to find his game is still a work in progress.
Waived by the Phoenix Suns in early December, Dowdell signed last week with Gran Canaria in the ACB Spanish League only to make a less than memorable impression going scoreless (0-1) in 11 minutes of play in a 77-63 loss to Assignia Manresa. The following game the 6-foot-3 point guard received a DNP - Coach's Decision against UCAM Murcia.
Maybe Dowdell will find his role on Sunday when Gran Canaria takes on FCB Regal in Spanish League play. But knowing the history of Dowdell's release from the Suns and failed attempt to first sign in Turkey in January, Dowdell's overall health could still be a concern.
Dowdell was let go in training camp by Phoenix (where he averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 assists in 20 games last season) because he was unable to participate due to pain under his right kneecap. Instead of fighting for Steve Nash's back-up job with Sebastian Telfair, Dowdell was out of work.
A month later he signed in Turkey with Anadolu Efes Pilsen but had his contract canceled a day later after failing to pass his physical.
Is Dowdell's knee a minor set back or a major worry?
Apparently the past pain in Phoenix or signs of nagging injury didn't stop Gran Canaria from signing Dowdell for the remainder of the season. The franchise views Dowdell as a complete player, a guy who can help provide some backcourt depth with Marquez Haynes and Tomas Bellas.
Now officially planted back in Europe, Dowdell returns to the overseas roots he planted after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech in 2007.
Before signing in Phoenix and getting some D-League run with the Tulsa 66ers, Dowdell helped France's SLUC Nancy win the LNB Championship over Chorale Roanne Basket in 2008 and then spent a season in Italy with the Pro-A second division, Fastweb Casale. In 2010 and after four months in the D-League, he signed in Spain with Unicaja Malaga before eventually joining with the Suns last season.
That NBA chapter of Dowdell's story, at least for now, ended over questions about his right knee.
He can only hope the knee and his game hold up in Spain.